Bend tiny homes have to clear tall hurdles

'Cottage community' still has full-size SDCs

Bend cottage community features tiny homes

An attempt to bring more and different kinds of housing to Bend is under construction, in the form of a tiny home "cottage community" in southeast Bend.


The Hiatus cottage community on Benham Road is being built following the city’s cottage code, because in Bend it's currently not legal to live in a tiny home on wheels.


The starting price of the cottage homes is $249,000.


Jesse Russell, the developer of the community, said Tuesday that's higher than they wanted it to be.


One of the problems he's running into with pricing is the local governments' system development charges, or SDCs.


Russell said a 400-square-foot home has much the same charges as a 10,000-square-foot home. For a cottage home, it's not to scale, and he's working to change that.


"That's the next fight that I have, and that's going to the city council and going to our mayor,” Russell said. “They've been really, really positive about having this type of housing in our city. Now we have the numbers, and we really know how much it cost to build these, and the SDCs are really, really prohibitive."


Russell said in the cottage code, they are also required to create a common area with parks and trails. He said the Bend Park and Recreation District SDCs for the community are higher than other agencies' fees.


Russell said to him, it's not scaled right and needs to change, if we want to see more of this type of development. 


When finished, the more than three-acre site will have 22 tiny homes that are just over 400 square feet each.


The city's cottage code allows smaller homes in an area, as long as it doesn’t exceed the existing neighborhood’s density requirements.

Another requirement is that the homes must face a common area and not line up like more traditional homes, along a street.

“The difference in our subdivision vs. a traditional subdivision — all the traffic, the roads, the parking — it’s all behind the houses. The houses all face into the common area,” Russell said.

Also, the state adopted a building code last fall that allows a habitable, sleeping loft in any size home, as long as it meets the code on ladders or stairs, depending on the size of the home.

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